Kirkcaldy High School News 8 March 2019

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Published: Thursday 07 Mar 2019 by Fife Council

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope that you are in good form … welcome to the latest KHS news.

Last week I mentioned that our musicians and vocalists would be playing at the launch event of Boyd Solicitors’ new office in Townsend Place. We are hugely grateful for the donation of £500, which will go to purchase new music equipment for the school. Many thanks to Mrs Simpson, Mrs Duckett and student teacher Mr Corkey, who supported our performers. We are now looking forward to extending our links with Boyd’s, who are keen to become a partner.

Also, very well done to Fiona Mundwiler (S6), who represented KHS in the East of Scotland finals of the Rotary Club “Young Musician” Competition (instrumental section) at Kinross. Fiona is a superb violinist and played Vivaldi in the competition.

I also mentioned our Rwanda exchange team were fund raising for their trip this October by offering a bag packing service at B and M Stores at the Retail Park. This went very well and a good sum was raised to go towards travel costs. Thanks also to “Friends of Kirkcaldy High School”, who have sponsored one of the places to ensure that all young people have an opportunity to be part of this.

After school on Monday, we were involved in a meeting about extending our student exchange programme. We are currently hosting students from Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Brazil, and are looking forward to new starts next session, mainly from Brazil. We are also looking at ways to help Kirkcaldy kids spend some time abroad.

This week our assemblies were led by Science staff to mark “British Science Week” … as expected, there were a few bangs! Many thanks to Mr Dick and Dr Murray who looked at ways of creating clean energy. Also at the assemblies, I reiterated our mobile phone rules. These should be off and out of sight during lessons, except at the direction of the teacher when a phone could have an educational purpose eg to photograph an experiment or similar, take part in an online “Cahoot” quiz or to note homework due etc. Earphones should be out of sight during lessons and in corridors. These are fair rules which reflect our values of “Respect for Learning” and “Respect for Others”. Phones can disrupt learning, their use in social situations can be rude or disrespectful and earphones in the corridors can sometimes be unsafe.

At the Carlyle Assembly, we also had the presentation of an “Achiever’s Tie” to one of our top footballers. Liam Newton (S5), recently made his international debut for Scottish Schools U18 and plays regularly with Dunfermline Athletic reserves, including the Pars recent win over Rangers.Also, perhaps you saw in the Fife Free Press that Kieron Bowie (also S5) recently made his first team debut for Raith Rovers and will join the club full-time after his exams in May. Kieron will receive one of our special ties shortly.  On the sporting theme, very well done to Fraser Anderson, our Head Boy. Fraser was named the Sport Scotland “Young Ambassador of the Month” for February.

On Tuesday morning, a group of female students and “STEM” staff met with Councillor Kathleen Leslie (Burntisland and Kinghorn) to discuss women and girls progressing into science and technology careers. Despite our efforts there remains a stereotypical view of technology careers and Councillor Leslie is working to address this locally. In the afternoon, our LGBT+ group delivered training for the clergy of the Scottish Episcopalian Church at St Peter’s, Kirkcaldy. These young people are exceptional in their commitment to fairness. Their training was very well received. We also had a parent/carer evening for those involved in the Great War battlefields trip in May. Many thanks to Mr Harrower, Miss Osborne and to the other staff involved. I am also grateful to the donor, a former pupil who wishes to remain anonymous, who has made it possible for us to include young people who would find it hard to be part of this trip on financial grounds. Mitigating disadvantage is a big part of our work and donations such as these allow us to operate more fairly.

Also that evening, Mrs Davidson and I went along to the Rotary Club of Kirkcaldy meeting held at the Dean Park Hotel. It was the special “Youth Showcase” evening and we were joined by our “RYLA” leadership camp students; Liam Nisbet, Jake Ramsay and Megan Ramsay, all S5. All three have won sponsored places at the camp in the Cairngorms this summer. We also had “Young Musician” winners Fiona Mundwiler (violin) and Cara Hayes (vocals) performing, accompanied by Mrs Simpson and Mrs Duckett. This was one of Mrs Simpson's last engagements outwith school hours for a wee while as today she goes off on maternity leave. Best wishes to Mrs Simpson, and also to Mrs Duckett, who is taking over as Head of Music. At the Rotary night, Charlie Murdoch, the Chair of our Interact Club, also gave a report back to the club. Jake Nisbet was also there in another capacity, as the Kirkcaldy Winner of the Rotary Club Young Chef Competition, joined by runner-up Andrew Collins. Ms Collins (Head of Home Economics) accompanied Jake and Andrew. Also, Mrs Morris, Head of Modern Languages, came along to the meeting with Alex, S6 at Balwearie, who won a “Euroscola” place at the European Parliament at Strasbourg. Although Alex is a Balwearie pupil, she is part of our Advanced Higher French class. We have offered quite a few students from other schools places on different courses here this session. Finally on the Rotary theme, our “Youth Speaks” public speaking team attended a lunchtime meeting recently where they gave a talk. They will contest the Scottish final at Stirling University next weekend.

On Wednesday, as well as the Carlyle Assembly, we had a film crew in school, from Edinburgh University. They were making a short film about equality and diversity in education. This will be part of the teacher induction programme and focused on the work of KHS LGBT+. We also had our Sport Leaders officiating the Disability Sport Fife Badminton in Glenrothes.

Our senior basketball team competed in the Fife Championships and I am pleased to say that they won three of their five matches, finishing fifth overall, a best ever finish I think. In the afternoon and early evening, parents and carers of S4 were invited in to discuss course choice for S5. Many thanks to the guidance staff who go to great lengths to get this right.

Thursday saw our S5/6 peer educators being trained to deliver “Sexperts” sexual health and relationships training for all S3. Many thanks to NHS Fife, Barnardo’s Scotland and Kirkcaldy Youth Worker team for their support. Then, in the afternoon, myself and a group of staff visited Valley primary to read to children there as part of World Book Day. Many thanks to Mr Mitchell, Dr Murray, Mrs Rae and Mrs Cunningham for helping out. The feedback from the Valley kids was very positive. 

After school, I attended a Presentation Ceremony for our Duke of Edinburgh Award Licence. This took place at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline and I was joined by Ramiza Ahmed, Gemma Carpenter and Kyle Peter (all S3), who are undertaking this excellent programme of personal development and challenge (photo). Many thanks to Miss McIntosh and Miss Malcolm for their support of this. Last night was also our S2 parent/carer evening. Thank you for limiting your discussion to the allocated 5 minutes, it’s the only way we can make sure that the timetable can be followed. The evening went very smoothly … this is greatly appreciated.

This evening is our annual “Friends of Kirkcaldy High School” ceilidh night, which is always great fun and an excellent fund raiser for the school. FoKHS supports us to acquire new equipment and to help less well-off kids take part in school trips, such as the Rwanda experience. We’ll have dancing to the Bert Pozzi Ceilidh Band, fish suppers from Valente’s and a well stocked, very reasonably priced bar. I am sure it will go well again this year. Thanks to Mrs Davidson (Depute) for the work she puts in behind the scenes. I am also very grateful to Lorraine Lister, our janitor, who also goes the extra mile … or further if required!

Tomorrow’s Saturday School is Latin, Classics, Psychology, Graphic Communication, Design and Manufacture and Engineering Science. Thanks to all staff supporting this initiative. Miss Diamond is putting together the SQA Easter School programme next week. This will be shared next week.

Next week we’ll be having our SQA Dance prelim exams on the Monday morning and a guest speaker from “Greenpeace” in to discuss that organisation’s environmental campaigning. Again, this will help our students understand the relevance of the UN’s “Sustainable Goals” programme. There are also vaccination sessions planned for that day and consent letters have been issued by the nurse team..

At lunchtime on the Tuesday, Mr Farquharson has arranged a speaker to talk to S6 about student finance, loans and bursaries. In the evening, we’ll be represented at the AGM of Kirkcaldy Foodbnk, with a group of staff and pupils going along to hear the guest speaker, Sir Harry Burns, former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.

On Wednesday, we are holding another “Speedy STEM” science and engineering challenge in the Hall, supported by Fife College. At the same time in the Library. We’ll also be hosting the Sky “Ocean Rescue Challenge”. These are workshops with a focus on plastic pollution … again, this work is about extending understanding of the UN “Sustainable Goals”.

Meanwhile, Alanah Ferguson (S6) is off to the UK “Big Bang” Science Competition at the NEC in Birmingham. Alanah has developed a project on underwater energy generation which is very exciting. It’s part of the Nuffield Foundation Research Programme and Alanah has been spending time at Dundee University developing her ideas. Good luck Alanah!

Thursday has our S5 “Sexperts” peer education trainers working with all S3 (by House). This is an excellent sex and relationships programme which has won praise from “COSLA”. In the evening, it’s our “Dance Showcase”. I shared the poster last week and I must say that I am delighted that dance has become a real strength for KHS. Many thanks to Miss McIntosh (PE), who leads on this.

Next Friday, our English classes will be engaging with visiting author Laura Bates and in the evening, we’ll have teachers and pupils from the Computing Department attending the Adam Smith Global Foundation Annual Lecture at the Adam Smith Theatre. It’s part of the Kirkcaldy “Festival of Ideas” and the speaker is Sir Tim Berners-Lee … the guy who invented the internet!

The Saturday School will be Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Physics. It’s a great chance to boost SQA grades before May. Also that Saturday (16 March), I’ll be taking Umar Mohammed, Cara Hayes and Morgan Faulds along to Stirling University to contest the Scottish final of the Rotary Club Public Speaking Competition. We are up against Aboyne Academy, St Andrew’s and St Bride’s (East Kilbride) and Huchesons’ Grammar School (Glasgow) for a place in the UK final at Nottingham in May. Best wishes to team KHS.

Next week's canteen hot meal menu is as follows: Monday: Lentil soup, Macaroni Cheese, chips, vegetables Tuesday: Tomato soup, Red Thai Chilli Beef and noodles with vegetables Wednesday: Minestrone soup, Pork sausage casserole, potatoes and vegetables Thursday: French onion soup, Roast Beef, Potatoes and vegetables Friday: Leek and potato soup, Breaded fish/Steakbake, chips, peas.

We also have baked potatoes, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salad available every day as well as our outdoor snack bar. Please do be aware that we offer a free cup of soup with bread for all our young people, regardless of their “free school meals” status. We also have our "Breakfast Club" available from 8.10am and this is free to those facing hardship (it costs 44p otherwise). We have cereal, toast and jam and juice on offer.

Finally, please note that there will be a Parent Council meeting at 6pm on Tuesday 19 March … it would be great to see you there. All parents/carers are welcome to attend any Parent Council Meeting. It’s a good way to participate in the life of the school and Chairman Derek Dunsire has asked me to assure you that you will not be press ganged into taking the minutes or anything like that! The main agenda items will be Staffing, Budget, Head Boy and Girl Report, Proposed Parent/Carer Evening on Teenage Mental Health, a short talk about “Adverse Childhood Experiences” and the Kingdom FM Awards 2019. Come along and be heard.

All the very best to you … and many thanks for your ongoing support and encouragement. We will continue to try our collective best.

Derek Allan


8 March 2019

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